July 8, 2008, - 12:48 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
In 1985, Palestinian Islamic terrorists allied with Abul Abbas a/k/a Abu Abbas hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship, on which Jewish American Leon Klinghoffer and his wife were celebrating their wedding anniversary. The helpless, wheelchair-bound, 69-year-old Klinghoffer was murdered–shot in the head and thrown overboard–because he was an American and a Jew. Full details here, from my 20th anniversary coverage.
U.S. authorities wanted to arrest and try the hijackers, but unfortunately, Italian authorities did so instead. And as we feared, they got lax sentences.
Yesterday, the Italian government announced that it freed Achille Lauro hijacker Ibrahim Fatayer Abdelatif, now 43. Sadly, he now has many years of life left, unlike those he took from Mr. Klinghoffer. Abdelatif is now looking for a country that will grant him political asylum, since Italy is expelling him. He does not deserve such a generous fate.
But I am not sure how Abdelatif would be treated here in America. For several years, I’ve had credible information that another man involved with the Achille Lauro hijacking was given asylum and granted U.S. citizenship. He is living here under a pseudonym and was allowed in, ostensibly to provide more information on bigger terrorist fish. I’ve always wondered what is a bigger fish than a terrorist hijacker and murderer of an American citizen in a wheelchair. But the terrorist is apparently living here in freedom and involved in dealing and smuggling illicit drugs, for which authorities are now trying to get him. We’ll see. But I’m not holding my breath.
For now, I’m awaiting trial of Monzer Al-Kassar, the Syrian terrorist who sold the gun used to shoot Leon Klinghoffer and was involved in the conspiracy to blow up the Jewish Community Center and Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in the 1990s.
Here is what my friend, Lisa Klinghoffer–the daughter of the late Leon Klinghoffer–wrote me about her late father on the 20th anniversary of his murder:
Thank you so much! It has been a tough time for me this past week. We went to the cemetery and cried. I have tried to be so brave and stoic over the years and do the work that we do in Leon’s honor and memory. But sometimes, I just have “a moment,” and all families have to go through the same, as we do.
Thanks for remembering. I mean that’s what it’s all about: to remember and to educate so that perhaps one day ……….
Ironically, the Achille Lauro hijacking was done to demand the release of pan-Hezbollah Druze terrorist and murderer of several Israelis, Samir Kuntar, who is now being released by the Israelis (along with many other lie terrorists) in exchange for a few dead bodies.
Sadly, they did not get enough justice against Ibrahim Fatayer Abdelatif or Samir Kuntar. Both will now be free to murder and commit other bloody acts of terrorism again.
But one thing is for certain: Both of them will Rot. In. Hell.